Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe, a home to open mic nights and a slice of Boulder’s cozy character, closed its doors the afternoon of Sept. 27. According to a Boulder Daily Camera article, co-founders Brian Buckley and Kate Hunter said that the closure was the result of COVID-19 pressures. While there are no current plans to reopen the physical store, Innisfree will continue to have an online presence.
Martin Bickman, a literature professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, was an avid patron at Innisfree. He loved the way Buckley and Hunter were able to create such a an open and welcoming environment at the poetry bookstore.
“It was a place that brought people together,” Bickman said. “A great community.”
Bickman said that he hosted office hours at the poetry bookstore because of the positive energy it emulated.
Bickman was given a notice that he was to have his office hours in his office, but ignored the notice because he said it was easier for him to connect with his students at Innisfree.
As a literature professor, Bickman loved the idea of a poetry bookstore because there were so few of them. Innisfree was one of four poetry bookstores in the United States. Due to the unique nature of their store, Buckley and Hunter made it a point to connect with their patrons.
“Brian was so good at making friends with the poets,” Bickman said, explaining that he was very hands-on, which made the experience even better.
Bickman recounted a time when his son’s third-grade teacher arranged to have a children’s poetry reading at Innisfree where coincidentally, some of her old students who now attend CU, were hanging out at Innisfree. They were all able to reconnect at this poetry bookstore.
Miranda Glenn, a junior at CU Boulder said that when she heard the news, she was heartbroken.
“It’s been my favorite place in town since I first moved here and one of the places I feel most comfortable,” Glenn said “Its closing honestly feels like the last straw in the post COVID-19 world.”
She went to Innisfree the first week she and her family moved to Boulder. She said that she was a frequent patron and loved introducing her family and friends to the atmosphere and awesome people that worked there.
Like Bickman, Glenn loved how she always felt welcome and appreciated at the poetry bookstore.
“My favorite thing about Innisfree was its palpable sense of community and acceptance,” Glenn said.
Glenn doesn’t think that any business could mean as much to her as Innisfree did. Both Bickman and Glenn agreed that Innisfree’s closure is a great loss both personally and for the community.
As a place that created such an essential community for many, it will be difficult for anything to replace the poetry and bookstore cafe. However, the Boulder community remains hopeful that it will one day open its doors back up.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Julia Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.